Every day at work I experience conversations with people that I’d rather not have. I work with people that have opinions and ideas about the world that are so different from mine we should end up fighting every day. I steer off having real conversations with my co-workers. Yes, I agree that sounds snobbish but it’s not. The people I work with are not very open minded; they’re not particularly impossible to be around, just not people you want to sit and talk philosophy with.
Today while having a very nice and simple conversation we veered off and started talking about addiction and addictive qualities. The person I was talking to said they don’t believe addiction is real. They said addiction is all in the mind. My mind was blown. The basis for his argument is that he isn’t addicted to anything. He smokes weed, drinks and has done drugs but he says he could stop any time he wants and he has. Now, I do get a little bit of where he is coming from but knowing people who have addiction…I know you can’t just motivational speak your way out of it. Nonetheless, I didn’t argue it with him and just kept working. When someone has a view like that, you’re not going to change it.
I know addiction to be a real thing because…well…science. I have also witnessed it. Your body gets so dependent on a substance that not having it could kill you. I know this to be true but google is my best friend so I decided to google the definition of addiction. This is what the American Society of Addiction Medicine had to say:
“Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors. Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response.”
This is a short response but we get the gist of it. The website also says that 50% of the likelihood that someone will become addicted to something has to do with genetics. The other 50% has to do with environment. While I knew addiction has a lot to do with genetics, this puzzles me. I had the perfect environment to develop an addiction and the genetics but I have never been addicted to anything(except people). On my mother’s side my uncles are all alcoholics and drug addicts. One died, one is homeless and the other deals but is still affected by his addictions. On my father’s side, the alcoholism is a real problem. It’s something no one talks about but every one knows.
I feel very lucky today for two reasons: 1. I have a wide range of experiences so I will likely never be that guy and 2. I will never know what it’s like to go through the withdrawal of a hardcore drug. My best wishes to people who deal with addiction on a daily basis.